Meals on Wheels
Updated: Jan 12
Chick-fil-a, or not to Chick-fil-a, that is the question. We have mixed emotions on eating out versus food prepping for a road trip.
Pros of going through a drive-thru: It’s quick and easy, there’s no contemplating what to eat and how to pack it, it’s tax-deductible (for my husband’s food), it’s not as messy as assembling food in a moving vehicle. All-in-all it’s less stressful to go through a drive-thru, at least for the wife.
Cons of going through a drive-thru: It’s expensive, it’s usually bad for your health, and sometimes you’re in the middle of nowhere and there’s no place to eat especially out west.
Pros of packing food: It’s cheaper, you can better stick to diet restrictions/make healthier choices, you don’t have to make an extra stop for food.
Cons of packing food: There’s a cooler and possibly dishes to clean out once you arrive at your destination, food will only keep for so long, planning three meals for a family in advanced and prepping it all to fit in a small cooler with easy access is stressful and time consuming, assembling the prepped food in a moving vehicle, while a child repeatedly tells you how hungry they are, isn’t very fun.
Even though packing lunch is the most stressful option, I still feel like it’s the best one. In all honesty, packing lunch only inconveniences me. All around, it makes it easier on my husband in that it’s more affordable, it’s one less stop he has to program in the G.P.S., and it’s better for everyone’s health.
So here are my tips for packing meals for a road trip:
1. Avoid too much meal prep:
If you’re planning for sandwiches, then try lunch meat instead of hard-boiled eggs, or buy pre-made chicken salad instead of making your own. It’s still cheaper than a fast food run even if you buy it already made. Trust me, when you’re repacking all of your stuff for the third time that week, finishing a week’s worth of laundry, and trying to get the prophet’s chamber ship-shape before you leave, the last thing you want is to be worried about all the food prep left to do along with the dishes afterward.
2. Avoid too much in-vehicle assembly:
Once, I tried a bacon, turkey, guacamole wrap. I spread guacamole on the wrap, then turkey, bacon, spinach, chopped onion, bell pepper, and then drizzled ranch on it. It was good but making 3 of those in a moving vehicle was not a good idea. In the future, I think I’d try half of those ingredients for the sake of simplicity. Having the extra ingredients also took up additional room in the cooler.
3. Avoid over-packing:
Whether we’re packing clothes or we’re packing food, our tendency is to always over-pack. Stick to a basic food prep menu. Example: (Breakfast) banana and a protein bar, (Lunch) wraps or sandwiches and grapes, (Snack) pre-made veggie tray, etc.
Try not to plan on a four-course meal with chips, wraps, veggies, and dessert. Unpacking and repacking all the odds and ends is a pain. Plus, you probably won't eat all of it. I've made broccoli salad before and most of it went to waste because I made too much. Think smaller portions and usually, you'll get it just right.
4. Use Ziplock bags whenever possible:
Once again, arriving at your destination after a full day of traveling and having a bunch of dishes to wash just adds more stress. Especially if you’re staying with people you don’t know. I find it awkward to bring my dirty dishes into a stranger’s house, no matter how nice they are. To avoid this, I try to stick with throw away utensils and use resealable zipper bags to hold my chicken salad, bell peppers, etc.
5. Freezer packs:
In another article, I’ll list all the things I find essential for my cooler bag. For now, I’ll say that freezer packs are a must. Almost everywhere we go there’s a place to freeze them. Even in hotels, in the top of the mini fridge is a small shelf. That’s the freezer portion. We usually stick our freezer packs in there and it works nicely.
Hopefully, this article was helpful and a blessing. I pray that our experiences will help someone else along the way.